LONDON (AFP): Cricketers and pundits slammed India’s batting in the second innings as England batsmen Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root hit hundreds to thrash the tourists in the fifth Test on Tuesday.
India fell to 245 all out to hand England a record victory target of 378, which the hosts achieved with two sessions and seven wickets to spare on the fifth day and end the Covid-delayed five-match series at 2-2.
The in-form Bairstow (114) and Root (142) put on an unbeaten stand of 269 for the fourth wicket to pull out a sensational victory.
“Special win by England to level the series. Joe Root & Jonny Bairstow have been in sublime form and made batting look very easy,” batting great Sachin Tendulkar wrote on Twitter.
“Congratulations to England on a convincing victory.”
Veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle hit out at India.
“The 8th largest run-chase in history has been a stroll in the park. Bat hasn’t faced a challenge from the ball for the last 200 runs,” he tweeted.
England resumed the day on 259 for three and romped home in the first session of the final day with both Root and Bairstow having it easy against the Indian bowlers.
Former India fast bowler Irfan Pathan tweeted: “This victory of team England should hurt Team India. That was too easy.”
But it was India’s second innings that faced criticism after they had posted 416 in the first innings.
Apart from Cheteshwar Pujara (66) and Rishabh Pant (57) none of the batsmen survived the English test with skipper Ben Stokes taking four wickets.
Former coach Ravi Shastri hit out at the batsmen for their defensive approach.
“They needed to bat two sessions and I thought they were defensive, they were timid today, especially after lunch,” Shastri, who was coach when India led the series 2-1 last year, said after Monday’s day four.
“Even after they had lost those wickets, they could have taken some chances. Runs were important at that stage of the game and I thought they just went into a shell, lost those wickets too quickly, and gave enough time for England to bat today.”
Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag said India needed to do some thinking after the loss.
“India have quite a few issues to address, only Pujara & Pant from the top 6 scoring runs and Jadeja batting brilliantly, but need batsman to be in form,” Sehwag tweeted.
“Bowling in the fourth innings was absolutely listless,” the former opening batsman said.
This decider should have been played in Manchester last September only to be postponed just hours before the start because of coronavirus concerns within the India camp.